Karen Valby
January 19, 2011 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Red Garden

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Alice Hoffman
publisher
Crown
genre
Fiction

We gave it an A

The tale of Hallie Brady — one of the original founders of Blackwell, Mass., a scoop of a town in the Berkshire Mountains — is full of magic and grit and tragedy. In a series of interlinked vignettes that begin with Hallie and span the village’s 1750 founding through the present day, Hoffman describes a people hauntingly connected to the land beneath their feet. Each episode in The Red Garden is a marvel — there isn’t a disappointing one in the bunch. But the cumulative oomph of Blackwell’s history is Hoffman’s real triumph. Time passes; a small town grows. Hallie’s descendants face different ordeals in the 21st century, but they are no less painful and exquisite. A

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